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THE ROCK FATHER: THE POP CULTURE MAGAZINE FOR FAMILIES THAT ROCK.

Home Improvement: The Complete Window Replacement of Rock Father HQ - Part II: The In-Home Consultations...

As I posted earlier this month, my wife and I are finally about to start tackling some of the home improvement issues that have been lurking within the property lovingly dubbed, "Rock Father HQ." If you're just joining us, the basic gist is this: In 2010 we purchased a 1,300 sq. ft. home in Chicago's Northern Suburbs, a house that was built in 1990, and one we knew had some issues. Like most homes, it looks pretty good on the surface, but when you dig deeper, there's some things that are pretty bad - several of which stem from the previous owners, two of which fancied themselves to be "handy" - and one of whom shoddily put in windows because he "got a deal" on them. Our first project is fixing said windows, and today I'm going to walk you through my in-home consultation experiences with Pella Windows and Doors, The Home Depot, Renewal by Andersen and Feldco. The fun part? I didn't tell any of these companies that I would be writing about this experience. Out of courtesy, I did reach out to the PR team for the company that did score our business, but only after my wife and I had already done the deal and paid for the job. Bottom line: This post is not sponsored by anyone.

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Gardening: Three Tips for Growing a Chemical-Free Garden...

As the Garden Section of THE ROCK FATHER is ramping-up again for 2015, we're planning our gardening activities for the new season, and in-turn are thinking about how to be as "green" as possible. In all honesty, "going green" when it comes to lawn and garden chemicals is not easy - and while I've made a mighty effort for the past five years, I've been unable to go 100%. With that in mind, the folks over at Birds & Blooms have offered-up three tips for growing a chemical-free garden that I'm sharing with you today.

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Home Improvement: The Complete Window Replacement of Rock Father HQ - Part I: The Beginning

It's time to start improving our home... and that means I'm going to write about it. That picture up top? That's Rock Father HQ. Pretty on the outside... but some evil lurks within...

When my wife and I bought this house five years ago, we knew that there were some issues. On the surface and in the listing, the house looked nice - a somewhat "normal," generally modest 1,300 sq. ft. home in Chicago's Northern suburbs. The two-level (three, if you count the two steps down to the family room) house was built in 1990 as part of the subdivision boom of the era, and like many homes of the time, probably went up quick and with some corners cut. I would've loved "newer" and "bigger" (really wanted a basement), but my wife and I agreed that the house was good, the price was ok and it had the good size yard were hoping for - but most importantly - it had the schools we wanted and we could make it beautiful. As with any home purchase, the inspection found some problems, a few of which we knocked-out right away, and some others that were destined to sit for a bit. Maybe even a bit too long.

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Garden: My Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed Universal Feeder and Thinking Spring...

It was actually 50° here today. That is an exciting development, and a reminder that while there's still a nasty amount of dirty snow outside that's finally starting to melt, just four weeks from now baseball will started, and green grass will be seen at least somewhere here in Illinois. As we "think Spring," I can't wait to hit the garden with the girls, and I'm already scoping out some new tools for 2015 - one of which has already arrived. The folks at Scotts Miracle-Gro sent me their new Miracle-Gro LiquaFeed Universal Feeder Starter Kit, and I can't wait to try it out...

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First Garden Post of the Season: New Offerings from Toro Fuel the Desire for Warmth and Green Grass...

It is 1° as I sit in my office typing this right now. For those of you that don't live in a cold weather climate, I'll explain that it's right about this time every year when we in Northern Illinois have just about had it with the cold and start looking forward to warmer weather. Here at Rock Father HQ, working in the yard is something we look forward to, and this year in particular I can't wait to have the snow melted and get out there. As I throw open the virtual doors of my Gardening section here on THE ROCK FATHER for 2015, my first entry for the season ahead is a little news from the folks at Toro, who sent over the details on two new models of mowers that will soon be rocking neighborhoods Nationwide - the Toro Recycler All-Wheel Drive, and customizable TimeCutter Zero-Turn. Let's take a peek...

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The #FallFixUp of Rock Father HQ: Slashing. Trashing. Packing. Refreshing.

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and Rubbermaid. All opinions are that of James Zahn aka THE ROCK FATHER. #weavemade #FallFixUp  http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

Having not lived anywhere but the Midwest on any year-round kind of basis, I can't be certain but tend to think that Fall fix-up and Spring clean-up are two things that have a parallel relationship only for those who live in regions that go through a proper four-season cycle. In the Fall you get the place all cleaned-up before winter, and then after the snow melts, you've got a whole load of surprises to clean-up in the Spring. But I love it. It's a chance to refresh things, and I'm ahead in the game this season.

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